Shades of 1984

Just as Suzanne Collins did with reality TV and The Hunger Games - I love to take something current and noodle it into a story about the future. It's not hard to see how many times science fiction writers have been spot-on about what the future will bring. (see my older post about Isaac Asimov and a future World's Fair.)

However, when a news story comes along that highlights something the government is condoning that is right out of George Orwell's 1984 - I get scared, very scared.

How do you feel about the police being able to secretly track your every move without your knowledge or consent? http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2013150,00.html

And - since I can't be everywhere, reading every interesting story that comes along - what are the signs that your worst fears about the future are coming true?

16 comments:

Kim Harrington said...

Ick. I don't like that at all! Hell, I don't even like Facebook Places and disabled that.

Wen Baragrey said...

Boy, that's a big question right there.

Let's see.

Roma people being forcefully deported from France (despite saying after WW2 that such things should never happen again), Massive oil spills, BP wanting to drill in Antarctica, kids still starving in Africa even twenty-odd years after Live Aid and Band Aid, floods in Pakistan so bad they've crippled a country with millions of citizens and the world is too disaster-weary to do a darn thing about it...

Oh man. I don't even have enough worst fears to cover it all!

Wen Baragrey said...

You know, I just realized -- I think my fears about the future are to do with the ways in which we haven't changed at all, rather than the ways in which we have. I suppose, that's not very dystopian of me, though, is it?

Laura Marcella said...

The ads that follow you all over the internet. Not all shopping websites do it yet, but I'm sure they will. You look at a shirt or something, don't buy it perhaps because you're still thinking about it, and then you see the shirt on the sidebar of other web pages. SO WEIRD. If anything, that would make me NOT buy it because I'd be super annoyed. So I think that's a dumb advertising tool anyway.

I saw something about Google satellite that can look at any house and yard. That's weird, though it's not in real time so the police or whoever could be seeing your yard from a year ago. But still! Shades of 1984...

Corinne O'Flynn said...

Creepy!! Interesting that the article did not mention all the smartphones out there with built in GPS. They can track many of us now if they wish to... scary stuff. *puts on foil hat*

Caroline Starr Rose said...

On a slightly different note, I was curious if MOCKINGJAY would end like 1984.

Angie Smibert said...

To me, the shocking part of that article is the government-sanctioned class bias: "the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich."

And speaking of that bias, this weekend I watched Spike Lee's follow-up documentary about New Orleans five years post Katrina. Decent health care and basic schooling have become a privilege of the rich there. And they're not all that motivated to change that.

Julia Karr said...

Agreed, Kim!
Wen - everything you mentioned, yeah... and - I think the not-changing is as dystopian as the changing.
Laura - that ads thing totally creeps me out. It's so insidious that I "almost" didn't notice it!
Corinne - yes - if we aren't diligent we are ultimately trackable.
Caroline - have not read Mockingjay (oops! my bad!)
Angie - I found that tremendously unsettling, too. A judicial & social system that caters to the wealthy? How far off is that? Uh... not so...

winklewitch said...

It does creep me out. But, it's the same old story. Something cool and useful to people gets taken over for nefarious purposes - the story is just itching at my fingertips.

I take the stance that I can't do anything about it. If not this, then there would be something else used to track me.

Julia Karr said...

Winkle - you should so write that itching story! THAT is the something we can do about stuff like this!

debbie said...

You think that's bad, you should see what the goverment has planned for a severe pandemic. I know, I was involved in some of the planning. It gets even creepier when a pretty high up offical actually quoted doing something out of the Stand. You just can't make this stuff up.

Julia Karr said...

Debbie - you know I'm intrigued now!

debbie said...

The line in the beginning of the stand was used by the commander's assistant. He said he had a story made up, that he was going to tell the press it was a cholera outbreak. One of our goverment officials said the exact same thing during a conference about 4 years ago. On an interesting note, other countries actually have used that story to cover for the bird flu (H5N1).
On one hand, the goverment says you are on your own during a severe pandemic. This is a very bad thing. Think a katrina in every town. They have plans to have mailmen deliver tamiflu and other anti-virals to everyone. (won't happen, towns were given money to buy them, and most spent it on other things.My town bought 10 deluxe cots)
There will be forced conscription of all necessary medical personal. They will be jailed if they don't comply.
There are some controversial plans to seal off towns when it first hits.
The plans are to leave everyone on their own, that are out of the country, that are not essential. That means that most planes are grounded and you aren't going anywhere indifinitely.
There are definate weakness in the supply chains, utilities, water etc. that towns are not ready for.
I could go on and on.

Rebecca J. Carlson said...

With my recent relocation to Hawaii, I'm very aware that if the planes and boats stop coming, we'll be out of food here in about four days.

What concerns me most is the number of people who don't think things are going to change, and fast, and so aren't preparing for it. In a way, that's why I write post-apocalyptic. I want people to wake up and realize that their world could be totally different tomorrow.

Julia Karr said...

Wow, Debbie - just Wow! Eye-opener!

And, Rebecca - I think dystopia needs to be written! It does make people think.

Kay said...

Two dystopian books scared me with their predictions of the future that are a little too close for comfort: The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn tattoos a bar code on every citizen. The tattoo contains all your information: medical history, financial accounts, ID/driver's license. Want to think about medical chips or id chips being implanted? The other isn't YA, but The Traveller by John Twelve Hawkes explores what would happen if someone actually tracked all the information recorded about individuals. Almost makes me want to get off the grid completely.